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Delaware Corrections Officer Job Description

The Delaware Department of Correction is not only the largest agency within the Delaware’s executive branch, but it is also the largest law enforcement agency within the state, employing more than 2,500 professionals. The Department provides supervision for about 7,000 inmates every year within its correctional facilities and is responsible for 18 offices and facilities statewide.

Delaware Correctional Officer Jobs: Minimum Eligibility Requirements

Candidates who want to secure correctional officer jobs in Delaware must:

  • Be at least 19 ½ years old
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED
  • Possess a valid driver’s license

Further, all candidates for corrections officer jobs must undergo pre-employment drug testing and a criminal background check.

Candidates must also take a written examination as part of the pre-employment process, which includes multiple-choice questions in areas related to visual memory, writing ability, associative memory, and reading comprehension. Candidates are ranked according to test score and placed on an eligibility list to be used by the Department during open recruitment periods.

Correctional Officer Training

Individuals must successfully complete a 9-week Correctional Officer Basic Course. The course, which is administered by the DOC, includes both classroom and hands-on training.

 

The program includes study in the following areas:

  • Defensive tactics
  • Riot control
  • Report writing
  • Riot control
  • Emergency medical training
  • Inmate supervision

About the Delaware Department of Correction

The Department of Correction, under its unified correctional system, oversees all correctional facilities and institutions in the state and is broken down into the following:

  • Bureau of Community Corrections
  • Bureau of Correctional Healthcare Services
  • Bureau of Management Services
  • Bureau of Prisons
  • Office of the Commissioner

The Department provides supervision for offenders in the state by organizing services into a five-level system:

  • Level 1: Administrative Supervision
  • Level 2: Standard Probation
  • Level 3: Intensive Probation Supervision
  • Level 4: Work Release Centers, Home Confinement, Residential Drug Treatment, and Violation of Probation Centers
  • Level 5: 24-Hour Incarceration (Jail/Prison)

Correctional officers provide Level 5 supervision within the following institutions:

  • James T. Vaughn Correctional Center – Operating capacity: 2,601
  • Sussex Correctional Institution – Operating capacity: 1,149
  • Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution – Operating capacity: 320
  • Howard R. Young Correctional Institution – Operating capacity: 1,180

The Department of Correction had a full-time staff of 2,550 in FY2012; 2,538 in FY2011; 2,559 in FY2010; 2,608 in FY2009; and 2,662 in FY2008.

Corrections Officer Salary in Delaware

In 2012, it was reported in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition, which is a publication produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, that the median Delaware correctional officer salary was $33,620.

In Delaware, professionals in various correctional occupations receive the following salaries at various points throughout their careers:

Correctional Officer:

  • Minimum: $30,584
  • Mid: $40,779
  • Maximum: $50,974

Correctional Officer – Canine Handler:

  • Minimum: $32,725
  • Mid: $43,633
  • Maximum: $54,541

Correctional Sergeant:

  • Minimum: $35,015
  • Mid: $46,686
  • Maximum: $58,358

Correctional Sergeant – Canine Handler:

  • Minimum: $37,465
  • Mid: $49,953
  • Maximum: $62,441

Correctional Lieutenant:

  • Minimum: $39,888
  • Mid: $53,184
  • Maximum: $60,480

Correctional Staff Lieutenant:

  • Minimum: $45,670
  • Mid: $60,893
  • Maximum: $76,116

The data provided below have been taken from the U.S. Department of Labor and represent correctional officer salaries in Wilmington:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Wilmington DE-MD-NJ Metropolitan Division
720
37650

Dover, Delaware Corrections Officer Job Description

The Delaware Department of Correction (DOC), in 2012 alone, hired 145 new correctional officers. The need for qualified corrections officers remains strong in Delaware, as the last, few years have seen increased turnover rates.

The Delaware DOC is responsible for 18 facilities and offices throughout the state, which include four correctional facilities. There are currently about 5,500 inmates housed in Delaware, all of which are supervised by a staff of about 2,567 (as of June 2011).

Corrections Officer Job Description in Dover, Delaware

Federal Corrections Officer Job Requirements in Dover

Although there are no federal correctional facilities in Delaware, individuals may seek federal corrections officer jobs through the FCI Cumberland. Both Maryland and Delaware are part of the Federal Bureau of Prisons Mid-Atlantic region.

Individuals who want to learn how to become a federal correctional officer must expect to possess extensive education and/or experience, as candidates for these positions must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university; OR
  • Possess at least 3 years of experience working in a situation where they demonstrated their ability to supervise others; respond to emergency situations; or communicate effectively with others.

Individuals may meet the above experience requirements by working as:

  • Welfare worker
  • Teacher or instructor
  • Social worker
  • Security guard
  • Salesperson in a commission-based setting
  • Manager or supervisor
  • Counselor
  • Clergyman
  • Children’s daycare worker
  • Air traffic controller
  • Nurse
  • Parole or probation worker

State Corrections Officer Job Requirements in Dover

A state corrections officer job description is distinctly different from a federal corrections officer job description. In particular, individuals interested in attaining state correctional officers must:

  • Possess a high school diploma or GED
  • Be at least 19 ½ years old
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • Pass a drug screening and criminal background investigation
  • Take and pass a written examination, which includes assessment in the following areas:
    • Visual memory
    • Associative memory
    • Writing ability
    • Reading comprehension

Upon meeting the Department’s minimum qualifications for employment and taking the written examination, candidates are ranked and placed on an eligibility list.

Further, training requirements for state correctional officer jobs include completing a nine-week basic training course, which includes classroom training, physical training, and on-the-job training.

State and Federal Correctional Facility Job Opportunities in Dover

The following state correctional institutions are located near Dover:

James T. Vaughn Correctional Center

  • Smyrna, DE
  • Level 5 prison for men
  • State’s largest male correctional institution, housing about 2,500 inmates
  • Primary facility for the Kent County pretrial population
  • Houses inmates sentenced to death
  • Operating capacity: 2,601

Sussex Correctional Institution

  • Georgetown, DE
  • Houses maximum, medium, and minimum security male inmates
  • Houses Delaware’s only boot camp (100-bed facility accommodating 90 men and 10 women)
  • Operating capacity: 1,149

The following federal correctional institutions are located near Dover:

FCI Cumberland

  • Cumberland, MD (130 miles northwest of Washington, DC)
  • Houses medium-security inmates
  • Inmate population (as of May 2013): 1,136

Georgetown, Delaware Corrections Officer Job Description

The Delaware Department of Correction, which had a budget of $259 million, as of fiscal year 2012, hired 145 correctional officers that year.

The Sussex Correctional Institution, which is located in Georgetown, Sussex County, houses maximum, medium, and minimum-security inmates.

The facility underwent a major expansion during the years between 1997 and 2000, when 760 beds were added, bringing the total capacity to 1,109 beds, as well as another 100 beds in the adjacent boot camp. This Delaware facility is also home to KEY South, a nationally renowned substance abuse treatment program.

The Delaware Department of Correction oversees all 18 correctional facilities and offices throughout the state, including Sussex Correctional Institution.

How to Become a State Correctional Officer in Sussex County, Delaware

Individuals interested in becoming a correctional officer in Delaware must:

  • Be at least 19 ½ years of age
  • Possess a high school diploma or the equivalent
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Pass a psychological assessment
  • Pass a pre-employment drug test
  • Pass a written examination

Many with their sights set on a career in corrections choose to pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. A degree may set a candidate apart in the candidate pool, and for successful job applicants it may result in increased opportunities throughout their careers.

Just a few of the majors commonly pursued by individuals in the corrections profession include:

  • Criminal justice
  • Criminology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

Prior to receiving an institutional assignment, all new Delaware correctional officer recruits must successfully complete all phases of a 9-week Correctional Officer basic course, which is administered by the Department of Correction at the State’s Employee Development Center. Just a few of the topics covered during training include:

  • Inmate supervision
  • Riot control
  • Weapons
  • Report writing
  • Defensive tactics
  • Emergency medical training

About the Delaware Department of Correction

In addition to Delaware’s four correctional facilities, the Department of Correction oversees a number of specialized units and teams, which include:

  • Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT): Members of the CERT team perform operations that are considered advanced, high-risk, or community-related. The CERT team also serves as technical advisors to Department of Correction wardens and provides tactical response during emergency situations, such as escape/erroneous release operations.
  • Quick Response Teams (QRT): QRT teams are designed to provide institutions with first response services as to reduce the risk of a disturbance developing into something greater.
  • Escapee Recovery Teams (ERTs): ERTs are specially designed to deal with recovery operations (escapes) within a community.
  • K-9 Unit: The Delaware Department of Correction’s K-9 unit provides drug interdiction and enhanced security services to Delaware’s institutions. Just a few of the areas of specialty of the K-9 unit include: offender disturbance control, perimeter security, evidence collection, and crowd control, among others.
  • Mobil Command Post: The Mobile Command Post provides support services to riot, hostage, and escape situations, as well as on-board computers with access to law enforcement networks and mapping.
  • Court and Transportation: The Court and Transportation team manages the offender transportation unit and transports all DOC offenders to court appearances or from one facility to another.

New Castle County, Delaware Corrections Officer Job Description

The Delaware Department of Correction oversees all four of the State’s correctional facilities, which include Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution and the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, both of which are located in New Castle County. New Castle County, which encompasses the major city of Wilmington, is the smallest of all Delaware counties but the largest in population, with nearly 540,000 people as of the 2010 census.

Minimum Requirements and Pre-Employment Requirements For Correctional Officers

Individuals who want to become a Delaware State correctional officer in Sussex County must be able to meet the requirements set forth by the Delaware Department of Correction. Minimum requirements include the following:

  • Must be at least 19 ½ years old
  • Must possess a high school diploma or the equivalent
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license

The completion of a college degree at the associate’s level, although not required to become a Delaware correctional officer, is a common pursuit among individuals interested in a career in corrections. Popular college majors in this field include:

  • Criminal justice
  • Criminology
  • Sociology
  • Public administration

All candidates for Delaware State corrections officer jobs must be prepared to successfully pass a written examination, a criminal background investigation, a psychological assessment, and a pre-employment drug test.

About New Castle County’s Correctional Institutions

Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution: Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution is the State’s only women’s prison. This facility opened in 1991 and houses both pretrial and sentenced offenders. It operates minimum, medium, and maximum security levels and provides vocational programs, educational programs, religious services, drug therapy, and treatment services to its offenders.

James T. Vaughn Correctional Center: The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center is a level 5 prison and serves as Delaware’s largest male correctional facility. This facility currently houses about 2,500 inmates. It also houses all Kent County pre-trail inmates and all inmates sentenced to the death penalty. This institution also carries out executions.

The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center opened in 1971, with a major renovation/reconstruction in 1996. It now includes 600 maximum security cells, a new central tower, and an additional perimeter tower.

Essential Functions of Delaware State Correctional Officers

Correctional officers working for the Delaware Department of Correction are expected to perform the following as part of routine job duties:

  • Observing inmate activities to detect unusual behavior which may be a threat to security, to the facility, or to other inmates
  • Operating a central security control room
  • Patrolling the outside perimeter of a security facility to ensure all areas are secure
  • Transporting prisoners and ensuring their care and custody
  • Processing inmates in and out of the institution
  • Opening and distributing mail and searching for contraband
  • Preparing and maintaining a daily log that includes reports of activities and incidents
  • Supervise inmates within a security location by:
    • Making counts as specific time periods
    • Conducting searches and shakedowns for prohibited items and contraband
    • Escorting inmates to and from specific locations
    • Locking doors and controlling the passage of inmates, visitors, and employees

Wilmington, Delaware Corrections Officer Job Description

The Delaware Department of Correction, which operates 18 facilities and offices throughout the state (which includes four correctional facilities), is responsible for supervising more than 5,000 inmates, 16,000 probationers, and 1,000 offenders in community correction programs. As of June 2011, there were 2,567 employees working out of the Delaware Department of Correction.

In 2012 alone, there were 202 new hires within the Department of Correction, and 145 of those new hires were correctional officers. The Department continues to struggle to keep correctional officer positions filled, due to high turnover rates in the past, few years.

How to Attain Corrections Officer Jobs in Wilmington

In addition to working at one of Delaware’s correctional institutions, individuals in Delaware may be interested in working at the federal correctional institution of FCI Cumberland, which is located in Maryland. Both Maryland and Delaware are part of the Federal Bureau of Prison’s Mid-Atlantic region.

Corrections officer jobs at the state and federal level require a different set of minimum employment qualifications:

Federal Corrections Officer Job Requirements in Wilmington

Candidates who want to learn how to become a corrections officer through the Bureau of Prisons must be no older than 37 (unless they have previous experience working in a federal civil service position). Further, a corrections officer job description includes possessing either a bachelor’s degree or at least 3 years of experience performing one or more of the following duties:

  • Providing assistance, direction or guidance
  • Counseling individuals
  • Teaching or instructing individuals
  • Supervising or managing individuals
  • Responding to emergency situations
  • Selling products or services in a persuasive commission sales environment

Individuals must have experience in one or more of the above areas because federal correctional officers must be able to demonstrate that they are capable of: supervising others; communicating verbally with others; and responding to emergency situations.

Just a few of the professions in which candidates for federal correctional officer jobs may obtain their experience include:

  • Air traffic controller
  • Salesperson (commissioned sales)
  • Security guard
  • Manager or supervisor
  • Teacher or instructor
  • Welfare or social worker (adult or juvenile)
  • Children’s daycare worker
  • Clergyman
  • Counselor
  • Nurse
  • Parole or probation worker

State Corrections Officer Job Requirements in Wilmington

Individuals interested in learning how to become a state correctional officer must meet the DOC’s minimum employment requirements. Candidates must:

  • Be at least 19 ½ years old
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • Pass a written examination
  • Undergo a pre-employment drug test and criminal background check

Candidates hired as correctional officers must complete a nine-week correctional officer basic training course, which is administered by the DOC. New officers can expect to complete physical training, classroom training, and field training during this time.

Opportunities in Wilmington

Of the four correctional institutions in Delaware, two are located in in the Wilmington region:

  • Howard R. Young Correctional Institution
    • Wilmington, DE
    • Facility averages about 1,500 offenders (operating capacity 1,180)
    • Facility holds about 60 percent of all admissions in the Delaware Correctional system and houses most of the State’s inmate population
  • Delores J. Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution
    • New Castle, DE
    • Operating capacity of 320

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